Inside Music [15 Words or Less Poems]

Wake up your poetry brains with 15 Words or Less (guidelines are here)!

Inside a Violin
Photo: Perhaps Mierswa Kluska, from

I usually share photos I take, but I couldn’t pass by this one that my husband emailed to me.

This picture makes me think of:

  1. Shadows (again!) — I love them
  2. Tiny elves holding a concert INSIDE a viola or a cello
  3. I want to learn some Christmas songs on my old recorder

And, here’s my first draft.



It’s your turn! Have fun and stick to 15 WORDS OR LESS! (Title doesn’t count toward word count:>) If you leave a poem in the comments, and if it’s 15 words or less, I’ll try to respond!

70 Responses

  1. Life is a stage
    The spotlight is shining
    Not on me
    In the depths of despair

    Anne McKenna

  2. Shadow splitting silence
    Vibrating through the echos
    Releasing uncontrollable music
    of light

    1. Your language is emotionally aggressive and full of cacophony — Splitting, Releasing– feels like a chemical reaction–and yet the music feels soft– echos and light. Such a great contrast of sounds and action.

  3. I promise I composed before I read yours.

    music echoes on soft wood
    while shadows dance
    a pirouette–
    Melody magic.

    See you soon!

      1. I post my poem before I read the poems sent to the prompt. There will always be a semblance of cross-over but I want my words to come out before I am influenced by what I read here! It cannot be helped. Images seep in, consciously or not. I love seeing the different directions we take from the same photo.

  4. Fathom Of The Opera

    shadows dancing
    winding box
    shaped violins
    gifts of music

    Poem By Jessica Bigi

    1. Ironically, saw LORD Andrew Lloyd Weber last night on Stephen Colbert’s show.
      I love your play on the PHANTOM title. Sets stage immediately.
      Very cinematic poem in so few words.

  5. This picture makes me wonder HOW the picture was taken. ?
    It reminds me of my dulcimer. I play the Appalachian lap dulcimer and it also has those cut outs in the wood.

    Appalachian Dulcimer

    The joy my music brings
    by strumming on the strings
    moves and soothes the soul.

    1. Lovely, Pat! A soothing rhythm and mood…And I’m guessing they lowered a microcamera down through the cut outs?

  6. A lovely photo Laura. I thought swans at first glance. In spite of their lovely surroundings, this past weekend came to the forefront. Apologies for sounding “gloom and doom.”

    Swan Song

    Graceful souls
    reach for release
    from the depths
    of despair
    into tranquility.
    Au Revoir.

    1. Sorry Laura. My crooked little finger hit the wrong key and I appear as anonymous. I will again try to fill in all of the blanks.

    2. Martha, this is beautiful. So calm and melancholy. Au revoir sounds so much more peaceful than good-bye, doesn’t it?

    3. Martha: Je Suis Poetry.
      This was a touching response to the ugliness swirling about.
      Poetry can keep us safe– and sane.
      I adore that image of humans as swans, floating away.

  7. At first this looked like a concert hall to me — then it took on the image of the insides of a wooden ship…
    So two today, both ships. The concert hall never came back to visit! (though the word “belly” sneaked into both!)

    Slave Ship

    Whip cracks
    Sunlight spotlights
    Our plight;
    Creaking, rolling
    Ship’s belly music
    Releases me.


    Pilgrims to a better world
    In the belly of a boat
    Thankful for sun-slotted days.

    1. I like both Donna. Timely too. A ship’s belly is always present, pro and con.

    2. Oh, I love how concrete both of these are. “Slave ship” especially puts me right there…

    3. I saw the blonde wood in the photo as well. I love how you turned this into a poem about ships.
      Music reaches from the belly of both poems. It carries us along, forward, alive.

    1. this is wonderful Love the last 2 lines makes me think of an old theater weir no one has played inn years and walking in to the ghost of performers playing music wonderful tells a wonderful story in few words

  8. [Doesn’t that light beam look like the kind that comes in through the stained glass windows of a cathedral.? Or… maybe…NYC’s Grand Central Station? And so…]


    Behind the bridge, within the body,
    this light beam: boy
    plays a cello, Grand Central.

    1. Yes! And the feeling of it is so hushed. This beautifully captures this moment and holds it still for me to sit with. Thank you for playing, Julie. Always an honor to have you stop by and participate!

    2. This is a film scene, with the opening wide shot (behind the bridge) moving and zooming through “this light beam” to finally see a boy and his cello emerge on the screen. Love this beyond measure (and no, I did not intend to make a musical pun there). {}

  9. Act One

    The orchestra waits
    behind curtains,
    arms poised, instruments aloft,
    A symphony of still-life movement.

    -Pamela Ross

    1. Ooh, aloft and that final line…just lovely. Such moment of stillness, but full of stored energy!

  10. Laura: I hope you see this comment. I want you to know how wonderful and talented you are and how it is impossibly perfect your poem is for a first draft. You make it look easy. We know it is anything but simple and yet a poet strives to invite readers into the door of our complex world with such relative visibility.

    Your words are free but I feel each grain and splinter and shard, carved from raw wood, sculpted into art we can touch and feel and hear. Look deep into the words and there are shadows, something the poet may still need to keep hidden, not ready to release and play for an audience.

    1. Oh, gosh. Thank you, Pamela. You know, that’s one thing I love about the 15-word limit. It’s truly easier to end up with something meaningful/evocative in a tiny space, I think. I tend to dilute my poems as they go on! Thanks for this lovely comment:>)

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